by Will Overton
Sometimes when the waiver wire dries up in fantasy baseball and you find yourself cycling between the same two or three players over and over again, you need a little bit of new blood. The only way to get that is to pay attention to the guys being called up you haven’t seen on the wire before.
Depending on how deep your league is some of these guys may have already been owned waiting for a call up, but in most standard leagues these guys were and many are still available on the waiver wire. So instead of going through the same old recycled junk on the wire, you might as well at least try someone new who could provide a spark for your team.
Here are seven of the most recent call-ups who could make an impact on your fantasy team.
Starling Marte – OF, Pittsburgh Pirates: If his first AB was any indication this guy is ready to play in the major leagues. There was a ‘Free Starling Marte’ mantra for quite some time now, and thanks to Alex Presley’s injury Marte is finally getting a crack at the bigs. Marte got a pair of hits in his debut including hitting a HR in his first ever major league AB. There are still holes in the game of Marte, namely his batting eye, but he has a very nice power/speed combo that doesn’t come around on the waiver wire too often and you’d be crazy not to take a shot on a guy with this kind of ability if he is on your waiver wire.
Ryan Wheeler – 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks traded away Ryan Roberts earlier this week meaning they plan to give Ryan Wheeler a shot it seems. Wheeler had been crushing AAA pitching with a .354 BA, 15 HR and 90 RBI before his call-up. Like Marte, Wheeler strikes out way too much, and his minor league batting average was inflated, but the power seems to be real, it’s just a matter of it transitioning to the big leagues. Wheeler will still split time with Willie Bloomquist who is hot right now, so his upside isn’t as high as others, but in deep leagues he’s at least worth a flier.
Anthony Gose – OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Playing time for Gose is going to be hit or miss unless something changes in the Jays outfield, but Gose might be the most naturally talented guy on this list. He’s also the youngest and might not be quite ready for his big chance, only time will tell. Still Gose was hitting .292 in the minors and has top level speed. A guy like Gose who has the ability to contribute heavily in a particular category has value, because of the playing time issues probably only in deep leagues, but still value.
Josh Rutledge – SS, Colorado Rockies: The promotion of Rutledge to the majors was not as highly touted as some of these other call-ups, but he has gained people’s attention since then. Rutledge has gone from ignored to 30% owned while hitting .356 in 12 games with 6 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI and 3 SB. Rutledge was hitting .306 at AA with double-digit HR’s and SB’s, but he never even had an AB at AAA. Rutledge’s .395 BABIP means the average may be hard to sustain, but he does have speed so high BABIP will be naturally high and I think he has legitimate .300+ average potential. Rutledge should be owned in all formats at this point.
Travis Snider – OF, Toronto Blue Jays: Snider has been one of those guys over the last couple of years who kills AAA pitching, but can’t seem to make it work in the big leagues. He’s back up now and with Jose Bautista on the DL he’s the everyday LF. Snider is a solid 7 – 23 and already has 2 HR’s and 6 RBI, his two biggest areas of contribution. However he has struck out twice in each of his last five games, striking out almost half of the times he is up to bat. If you need power Snider can provide it, but if he can’t make contact more often than he’s going to see his average plummet soon. Use him while he’s got it going, but don’t get your hopes up.
Zach Britton – SP, Baltimore Orioles: A shoulder injury kept Britton from having a shot at getting into the rotation at the beginning of the season. But he went 5 – 1 in 10 minor league starts since returning from the injury and he looks like he’s ready to go. Britton struggled in his first start, walking 6 in 4 IP with 4 R. However, in his second start he threw six scoreless innings with 2 BB and 5 K. Britton had a lot of ups and downs last season, and he’ll have them again this season, but he has the tools to be a good big league pitcher. Owning him is a gamble, but it may be a gamble that pays off.
Matt Harvey – SP, New York Mets: It has to be clear after Harvey posted double-digit K’s in his major league debut that he has big time skills. Harvey only has a year and a half of minor league experience as he soared through all three levels and right to the big leagues. Harvey is a flamethrower who will rack up K’s and has the skills to earn a permanent spot in the starting rotation, even after Johan Santana comes back from the DL. Every game will not be like this last one, there will be problem spots, but it’s clear that with his talent he should be owned in a lot of leagues. Pitching like this isn’t readily available on most waiver wires.